OSU's Department of Integrated Systems Engineering



Engineering Laboratory for Human Factors/Ergonomics/Safety 


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About...

Human Factors/Ergonomics blends science and engineering in the discovery and application of information about human behavior, abilities, limitations,
and other characteristics and brings this knowledge to the design of systems and their component tools, machines, tasks, jobs, and environments, for productive, safe, comfortable use by people.  Activities of all types, work, leisure, sports, and daily living, can be facilitated and made safer through application of human factors/ergonomics principles.

Research conducted through OSU's Engineering Laboratory for Human Factors/Ergonomics/Safety is focused on creating and applying new knowledge to improve human performance and reduce exposure to risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders and injury, at work, school, and home.


Research Projects...
Health Care
Health, Safety & Technology
Upper Extremity Biomechanics
Human-Computer Interaction
Industrial and Service Sector Ergonomics


Health care work - physical stressors, other hazards, and intervention research:

Design of Hospital Patient Rooms:

2012-2017.  Improving patient room design for all users (NIOSH-sponsored project R01OH010181)

Lavender, S.A., Sommerich, C.M., Patterson, E.S., Sanders, B.-N., Evans, K.D., Park, S., Umar, R.Z.R., Li, J., 2015. Hospital patient room design:  the issues facing 23 occupational groups who work in medical/surgical patient rooms. Health Environment Research & Design Journal, 8, 98-114.

Imaging technologists:

2008-2015.  Designing musculoskeletal disorder interventions for imaging technologists (NIOSH-sponsored project R01OH009253)
The goal of the study was to work with imaging technologists to develop interventions to improve their working conditions by reducing their occupational exposure to risk factors that lead to development of musculoskeletal discomfort and injury.  This line of research has continued beyond the duration of the sponsored project.

Sommerich, CM, Lavender, SA, Evans, K, Sanders, E., Joines, S., Lamar, S., Radin Umar, RZ Yen W-T., Li, J, Nagavarapu, S, Dickerson, JA, (2016 [Epub ahead of print]), Collaborating with cardiac sonographers to develop work-related musculoskeletal disorder interventions.

Sommerich, CM, Lavender, SA, Evans, K, Sanders, E., Joines, S., Lamar, S., Radin Umar, RZ, Yen W-T., Park, S (2016 [Epub ahead of print].), Collaborating with mammographers to address their work-related musculoskeletal discomfort. 

Sommerich, CM, Portable Seating for Echocardiographers, 2014.  Presented at the 17th Annual Applied Ergonomics Conference.

Sommerich, CM, Lavender, SA, Evans, K, Sanders, E.,  Joines, S., Radin Umar, RZ,  Park, SH, Lamar, S. Yen W-T., 2013, Participatory Ergonomics Applied to Radiographers' Work,  Presented at the 2013 Symposium on Human Factors and Ergonomics in Heath Care.

Sommerich, CM, Lavender, SA, Sanders, E., Joines, S.,  Evans, K, Lamar, S., Yen W-T.,  Radin Umar, RZ,  2011.  Participatory Ergonomics Applied to Sonographers’ Work, 55th Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, Las Vegas.

Radin Umar, RZ,  Sommerich, CM, Evans, K, Lavender, SA, Sanders, E., Yen W-T.,  Joines, S., Lamar, S. 2011.  Ergonomic Interventional Design of an Articulating Arm for Echocardiography Application:  Front-End Design and Pilot Study, 55th Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, Las Vegas.

Sommerich CM, Lavender SA, Sanders EB-N, Lamar S, Evans K, Joines SMB, Yen W-T. 2010. Participatory ergonomics applied to mammographers’ work. Proceedings of The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 54rd Annual Meeting, San Francisco: The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.

Home health care:

2009-2017.  Various groupings of students and faculty from this lab, the Orthopaedic Ergonomics Laboratory, the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, and the College of Nursing have conducted research in this area.  Some portions of this research were supported, in part, by a grant from the Center for Clinical & Translational Science at OSU.  Some student support was provided through our NIOSH Training Grant (T01 OH008847).  A grant to support the development of occupational safety training for home health care workers, using virtual simulation, was awarded in 2013 (R01 10425; PI-Dr. Barbara Polivka, U. of Louisville).

Wills, CE, Polivka, BJ, Darragh, AR, Lavender, SA, Sommerich, CM, Stredney, D (2016), "Making do" decisions:  how home healthcare personnel manage their exposure to home hazards, Western Journal of Nursing Research, 38, 411-426.

Darragh, A.R., Lavender, S., Polivka, B., Sommerich, C.M., Wills, C.E., Hittle, B.A., Chen, R., Stredney, D.L., 2016. Gaming Simulation as Health and Safety Training for Home Healthcare Workers. Clinical Simulation in Nursing 12, 328-335. 

Polivka, BJ, Wills, CE, Darragh, AR, Lavender, SA, Sommerich, CM, Stredney, D (2015), Environmental health and safety hazards experienced by home healthcare providers:  a room-by-room analysis, Workplace Health & Safety, 63, 512-522; quiz 523

Darragh, A. R., Sommerich, C. M., Lavender, S. A., Tanner, K. J., Vogel, K., & Campo, M. (2013). Musculoskeletal discomfort, physical demand and caregiving activities in informal caregivers. Journal of Applied Gerontology, epub ahead of print.

Czuba, L. R., Sommerich, C. M., & Lavender, S. A. (2012). Ergonomic and Safety Risk Factors in Home Health Care:  Assessment and exploration of alternative interventions. Work, 42(3), 341-353.


EMS providers: task and ambulance cot design improvement research:

2016-2018.  Through support from an Ohio BWC grant, we will work with firefighters and paramedics to review current methods for handling heavy patients, identify best practices, and develop new methods that will reduce the risk of overexertion-related injury to paramedics and firefighters when performing these physically stressful tasks.


2010-2012. 
Students and faculty from this lab and the Orthopaedic Ergonomics Laboratory have conducted biomechanical analyses to determine effects of ambulance cot designs on EMS workers, while loading and unloading cots from a simulated ambulance. The research was supported, in part, by industrial grants. 


Sommerich, C. M., Lavender, S. A., Radin Umar, R. Z., Li, J., Park, S., & Dutt, M. (2015). A biomechanical and subjective comparison of two powered ambulance cots, Ergonomics,  58, 1885-1896.

Sommerich, C. M., Lavender, S. A., Radin Umar, R. Z., Park, S., Li, J., & Dutt, M. (2013). Powered Ambulance Cots:  Effects of design differences on muscle activity and subjective perceptions of operators. Paper presented at the 2013 International Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, San Diego.


Sommerich, C. M., Lavender, S. A., Radin Umar, R. Z., Le, P., Mehta, J., Ko, P. L., Farfan, R., Dutt, M., Park, S. (2012) A biomechanical and subjective assessment and comparison of three ambulance cot design configurations. Ergonomics, 55(11), 1350-1361.


Health, safety & technology:

2014-2015.  New applications for digital human modeling 
Ngo, S.P., Sommerich, C.M., Luscher, A., 2016. Digital Human Modeling of Obese & Aging Workers in Automotive Manufacturing. 2016 International Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.  (Student support provided through our NIOSH Training Grant, T03 OH008847.)

2012-2013.  Automated external defibrillators
 
Keester, D and Sommerich, C.M. (2013). A Survey of AED Locations at the Columbus Campus of The Ohio State University  link to report
 

Hennessey, B.P. (2012). Investigation of Automated External Defibrillator (AED) and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Experience and Knowledge at The Ohio State University.  link to thesis


Upper extremity biomechanics:

Upper extremity discomfort, work, and activities of daily living:

2014-2015.  Manual work

Keester, D., Sommerich, C.M., 2017. Investigation of musculoskeletal discomfort and work postures among practicing tattoo artists. Applied Ergonomics 58, 137-143.  (Student support provided through our NIOSH Training Grant, T03 OH008847.)


2010-2011. 
User-centered examination of jar lid design

Yen, W. T., Sommerich, C. M., Lavender, S. A., Flinn, SR, & Sanders, E. B. (accepted for publication). Evaluation of jar lid design characteristics by older women with hand use limitation, Applied Ergonomics.

Yen, W. T., Flinn, S. R., Sommerich, C. M., Lavender, S. A., & Sanders, E. B. (2013). Preference of lid design characteristics by older adults with limited hand function. Journal of Hand Therapy, 26(3), 261-271.

Yen, W.-T., Sommerich, C. M., Lavender, S., Flinn, S. R., & Sanders, E. (2013). Product Physical Interface Design Characteristics for Older Adults with Hand Use Limitations: Laboratory Study. Paper presented at the 2013 International Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, San Diego.  Awarded the 2013 Arnold M. Small Memorial Award For Outstanding Student Paper, by the Aging Technical Group of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.


A new model to investigate carpal tunnel syndrome:


2008-2012. 
Macaque Model of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:  Effects of force and posture exposures  (NIOSH-sponsored project R01OH009131)


Sommerich CM, Lavender SA, Buford J, Banks J, Vatan Korkmaz S, Pease WS. 2007. Towards development of a non-human primate model of carpal tunnel syndrome:  Performance of a voluntary, repetitive pinching task induces median mononeuropathy in Macaca fascicularis. Journal of Orthopaedic Research 25: 713-724.  (NIOSH-sponsored project R21OH008273)

Banks J, Lavender SA, Buford J, Sommerich CM. 2007. Measuring pad-pad pinch strength in a non-human primate:  Macaca fascicularis. Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology 17: 725-730.



Human-computer / Human-Information and communications technology (ICT) Interaction:


Accessibility of smartphones and apps:

2010-2012.  Two proposals were funded by the Ohio Board of Regents and Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission:
- Accessible Mobile Web Browser:  The objective of the project is to enhance the feature set and interface of a newly developed smartphone-based, open source web browser that provides mobile access to the web for students with print disabilities.  (project info)
- Open Source Talking eBook Reader:  The objective of the project is to enhance and distribute an already existing open source (free) e-book reader (Cool Reader), to make it fully accessible to students with print disabilities.  (project info)
        Research partners:  Rajiv Ramnath, Director of CETI in OSU's Dept. of Computer Science and Engineering, and Steve Jacobs,    
        President of IDEAL Group, Inc. and CEO, Apps4Android. Inc.

High school students' and teachers' use of tablet PCs:

Sahika Vatan Korkmaz, Doctoral Dissertation, 2008:  Application of participatory ergonomics principles into an educational environment: improving a high school information technology program via interventions. (access online)

Sommerich C, Korkmaz S. 2008. Survey response comparisons between student and teacher participants in a mobile instructional technology program in a high school setting. Proceedings of the 52nd Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, New York City: The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.

Sommerich C, Korkmaz S. 2007. Exposure to ubiquitous mobile instructional technology in a high school setting:  an observational study. Proceedings of the 51st Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, Baltimore, MD: The Human Factors Society.

Sommerich CM, Ward R, Sikdar K, Payne J, Herman L. 2007. A  survey of high school students with ubiquitous access to tablet PCs. Ergonomics 50: 706-727.

Sommerich CM, Collura K. 2007. Learning with Mobile Technology:  A Human Factors Perspective. In: Prey JC, Reed RH, Berque DA editors. The Impact of Tablet PCs and Pen-Based Technology on Education, West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press. p 127-136.

College students' and instructors' use of personal computers:

2009-2011.  A joint effort with researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, in which we are studying tablet PC use in a sample of college students and instructors.

Noack-Cooper KL, Sommerich CM, Mirka GA. 2009. College students and computers:  assessment of usage patterns and musculoskeletal discomfort. Work 32: 285-298.

Comparison of desktop and notebook computers:

Sommerich CM. 2004. Ergonomics Assessment Methodology for Work-Worker Systems:  Final Progress Report Columbus, OH: The Ohio State University.  (NIOSH-sponsored project K01OH000169)

Sommerich CM, Vatan S, Asmus A. 2004. Computer input devices:  quantification of use and variation in use. Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 48th Annual Meeting, New Orleans: Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. p 1344-1348.

Sommerich CM. 2002. A survey of desktop and notebook computer use by professionals. Proceedings of The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 46th Annual Meeting, Baltimore, MD: Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. p 1124-1128.


Industrial and service sector ergonomics:

Ergonomics for distribution centers:


2009-2010.  The goals of the project were to 1) work with safety and health professionals and distribution center order fillers to identify top issues related to physical exertion in order filling work and other material handling jobs in DCs, and then to develop and/or identify interventions to reduce the level of physical exertion and injury risk associated with these jobs, and 2) initiate the Distribution Ergonomics Research Center (DERC) at OSU.  This project was sponsored by the Material Handling Industry of America (MHIA).

Lavender, S. A., Ko, P. L., & Sommerich, C. M. (2013) Biomechanical evaluation of the Eco-Pick lift assist: A device designed to facilitate product selection tasks in distribution centers. Applied Ergonomics, 44, 230-236. 

Biomechanics of torque tool operation:

2007-2017.  Beginning as a joint effort with researchers from OSU's Department of Mechanical Engineering, this line of research has investigated new models and methods for assessing and describing biomechanical responses of torque tool operators, with special attention to DC torque tools and controller algorithms.  (Portions of this research were sponsored by Honda of America Manufacturing and the Honda-OSU Partnership).  The Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation funded a new research project (2015-2017) to extend this line of work to support the development of a tool rig to dynamically assess torque tools.

Ay, H., Sommerich, C. M., & Luscher, A. (2013). Linear Modeling of Human Hand-Arm Dynamics Relevant to Right-Angle Torque Tool Interaction. Human Factors, 55(5), 893-910.

Ay, H., Luscher, A., Sommerich, C., & Berme, N. (2013). Nonlinear model-based estimation of hand-arm reaction force in powered torque tool use. Paper presented at the 37th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Biomechanics, Omaha, Nebraska.

Ay, H. (2011). Linear and Nonlinear Models of Human Hand-Arm Dynamics and Torque Tool Interaction. The Ohio State University, Columbus.

Ay H, Sommerich CM, Luscher AF, Gumpina R. 2010. Assessment of Arm Dynamics in Experienced Workers While Operating Right-Angle Torque Tools, Proceedings of the 2010 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Biomechanics, Providence RI.


Ay H, Luscher AF, Sommerich CM, Gumpina R. 2010. Biodynamic Modeling and Physical Capacity Assessment of Human Arm Response in Experienced Torque Tool Operators, Proceedings of the 2010 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Biomechanics, Providence RI.

Sommerich CM, Gumpina R, Roll SC, Le P, Chandler DF. 2009. Investigating effects of controller algorithm on torque tool operators. Proceedings of the 2009 Industrial Engineering Research Conference, Miami: Institute for Industrial Engineering.

Johnson M, Vandlen K, Hutter E, Gahlot R, Yen W-T, Kommini S, Sommerich CM. 2008. Comparing the effects of two controller algorithms on DC torque tool operators. Proceedings of the 52nd Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, New York City: The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.

Biomechanical assessment of cake decorating:

Sommerich CM, Lavender SA, Asmus A, Chany A-M, Parakkat J, Yang G. 2005. Bakery:  Cake decorating process. In: Marras W, Karwowski W editors. The Occupational Ergonomics Handbook, Interventions, Controls and Applications in Occupational Ergonomics, Boca Raton: CRC Taylor & Francis. p 48: 41-14.



People...

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            study  wei-ting award   keyboar
            assessment  dawn       

Director:  The director of the lab is Dr. Carolyn Sommerich

Graduate students gain experience in conducting research through projects conducted through sponsored research, course work, and their own independent research.  Undergraduate students also gain research experience in the lab and provide valuable support to ongoing projects.

Current graduate students:

Jing Li
Doug Palmer*
Ardiyanto
Kelly Seagren*
Alaina Preddie*
Steven Bigelow

Undergraduate students:
Alex Pires
Jackie Ibrahim
Madison Ohrn
Anna Wade

Graduates:
Minghao Tang, MS (2016)
Hasmin Hakim Hasbullah, MS (2016)
Radin Zaid Radin Umar, PhD (2015)
Sriya Parthasarathy*, MS (2015)
SangHyun Park, PhD (2015)
Dana Keester*, MS (2015)
Christina Lee*, MS (2014)

Sarah Koop*, MS (2014)
Kailyn Cage*, MS (2013)
Bryan Hennessey*, MS (2012)
Nick Boyd*, MS (2012)
Emma Alder*, MS (2012)

Wei-Ting Yen, PhD (2011)
Tony Farfan*, MS (2011)
Laura Czuba*, MS (2010)
Olivia Hernandez*, MS (2009)
Rajiv Gumpina, MS (2009)
Dawn Chandler*, MS (2009)
Sahika Vatan Korkmaz, PhD (2008)
Di Liu, PhD (2008)
Shritama Mukherji, MS (2008)
Sarah Nelson, MS (2007)
Amy Asmus, MS (2005)
Jake Banks, MS (2004)

*These students are/were supported through NIOSH Training Grants T01OH008847 or T03OH008847;  Learn more about this graduate program for individuals interested in earning a master's degree through an engineering-based program in occupational safety and ergonomics.


Contact info...

The Engineering Laboratory for Human Factors/Ergonomics/Safety is co-located with the Orthopaedic Ergonomics Laboratory in Rm 281B in Baker Systems Engineering Building on OSU's Columbus campus, at 1971 Neil Ave.  The phone number is 614-688-7989. 


Affiliations...

The Engineering Laboratory
for Human Factors/Ergonomics/Safety is affiliated with the following laboratories and centers at OSU:

Spine Research Institute
Center for Occupational Health in Automotive Manufacturing (COHAM)
Cognitive Systems Engineering Laboratory (C/E/S/L)
Distribution Ergonomics Research Center (DERC)
Orthopaedic Ergonomics Laboratory



Links of interest...

Human Factors and Ergonomics Society
American Society of Biomechanics
The Ergonomics Society (UK)
American Industrial Hygiene Association 
American Society of Safety Engineers  


ISE Department home page

ISE Graduate Program